CanWest 3rd-qtr. profit shows sharp increase

TORONTO — Canada’s biggest broadcasting company, CanWest Global Communications Corp. of Winnipeg, has reported sharply higher third-quarter revenue and profit, with its operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand all contributing big gains.

CanWest said Friday that profit in the three months ended May 31 rose to C$36.5 million ($26.6 million) on revenue of C$224.7 million ($163.8 million) from C$25.5 million ($18.6 million) on C$169.2 million ($123.3 million) a year earlier.

For the nine months, CanWest reported profit of $85.5 million on revenue of $500.5 million, up from $661 million on $385.9 million year-ago.

CanWest Chairman Israel (Izzy) Asper has scheduled a news conference today to discuss succession plans for the company. Some observers expect he will name Peter Viner, the executive who helped turn around Australia’s Network Ten, as president and chief operating officer of CanWest.

In Canada, operating profit in the third quarter was $35.1 million on revenue of $82.1 million, up from $26.6 million on $72.2 million. The company attributed the gain to its growing market share and ad revenue.

In Australia, CanWest’s share of Network Ten’s operating profit was $26.1 million on revenue of $77.2 million, compared with $19.2 million on $54.5 million a year earlier, largely resulting from CanWest raising its economic interest in Network Ten to 76% from 57.7%.

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